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tv   [untitled]    March 12, 2012 12:30am-1:00am PDT

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lot of reasons because there's a lot of movement through that area that would actually work that way. again, these would come in as part of the t.e.p. julie kirshbalm and julie weiss will come back to the commission to explain the framework of the t.e.p. because these are just a few of the corridors we're looking at. on seventh and eighth street, seventh and eighth street has a characteristic that is really important to northwest travel in the city and it's something we heard from many people that was really important to keep. again, trying to balance all of the competing needs was a challenge for these two corridors but we found we could meet the better streets plan ideas and concepts by really looking at how we could create opportunities to widen the sidewalks to, have protected bicycle facilities, to transit
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that currently uses that street works fairly well, enhancing that transit experience would be beneficial, as well. so we looked at the alternative options three and four which was keeping them one-way, signalizing the lights so we can slow down the vehicle movement, doing a road diet down to less lanes than there are right now and putting in protected bicycle facilities. we thought that would achieve the goals of the project. so this would be the more permanent design which would basically look at widening sidewalks, creating a buffet area for protected bicycle facilities, having transit boarding islands which would mean the transit wouldn't have to pull in and pull out and get moving. and then it would create a real opportunity for fairly extensive landscaping and while keeping the important north-south travel
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movements that we've been told and have heard from many people is very important. so that was the analysis out of the report. we also looked at the cost estimates and the rough order of magnitude of how we could actually get these projects done. so for folsom and howard streets, depending on the option that we design, we're looking at up to $53 million of how much it would cost to redo these streets and this is using existing cost estimates we've had from our projects that we had on valencia street, on 2 a haight and 2 a hayes street projects. sidewalk widening is expensive and i know that this commission has looked -- has a development agreement, there's opportunities for funding to come out from these development agreements. we're going to need to explore
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that and more if we're going to have these kind of permanent projects. we're looking at a combination of options right now that may be included and trying to refine them to bring the costs down and get the project described for environmental clearance. on seventh and eighth street, the three lanes with the widened sidewalk of 15 feet and the protected cycle facility would cost about $32 million, somewhere in the order of $32 million. again, we are looking at a -- an in-between measure which would be an initial lane reduction or road diet using striping and signage and signals and that would be more in the order of $500,000 to $800,000, which we could implement fairly soon. the last project is 16th street. that's the median transit way with the 17th street bike lanes. we'd have sidewalk widening up to 18 feet so it would really transform this corridor with all the new development heading
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along 16th street and there would be parking redistribution. we'd look at opportunities where the parking would have to come off the street to look at side street redistribution and figure out a way that is -- we can minimize the major loss of parking on those corridors. so next steps, we have put the project cost estimates into our capital improvement plan with the m.t.a. we also -- that is the five-year work plan for capital that goes into the m.t.a.'s budget process and the city's budget process. we're looking at identifying funding opportunities because there's going to be a major gap even with the development contributions that come through the eastern neighborhoods project, there won't be enough to cover these project funds for the scale of street scape improvements. we're also looking at other opportunities that we can dove tail these projects with existing environmental processes or ones coming up. there's opportunities we could look at how we could put those
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into environmental processes that are coming up further down, further towards downtown, the redevelopment may be an opportunity. we have to figure that out. we're looking at is there a way to phase any of these things? can we do pilots or some sort of initial road diet treatments that can get things out the door sooner than later, so, obviously, we're in an economic downcycle right now. these would dove tail with the next rebound and as the development occurs in the soma area, obviously, contributions will come forward so we can leverage those with these projects but we're looking at any opportunity we can to leverage these funds so i want to thank the city staff who have been working on this project. it's been very extensive work. redesigning one set of the city is never easy and focusing on eighth street corridor i think has been the best prioritization
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of our resources. so we'll come back to you periodically. i think once we develop the project descriptions for environmental analysis, this will be the commission that would approve these projects so that would be the opportunity that we would come back to you in the meantime and i'm happy to answer any questions about the report. thank you. president fong: thank you. is there any public comment? commissioner antonini? commissioner antonini: thank you for your report. a couple of things. i think the idea, wherever we can go two-way on some of these streets, particularly folsom, which is envisioned as a retail street and i think that makes it a lot more pedestrian friendly and certainly supports retail activity better if you've got that and the experiment with the completion of the two-way hayes, although it's only a couple of blocks, i think has really helped and i don't think it's impacted traffic that much. it seems to move through there pretty well.
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so on the 16th street, what i would encourage as you plan this, is, you know, try to plan it, do it once and do it right. i know light rail is expensive but the problem is the t. is, you go out on the t. and you go a long ways out and there's no connection. it has to come all the way back eventually to the central subway but for now it has to come become to market street and to connect that up. so 16th street would be a perfect nice have a connector line from the church -- from church street and, you know, i think you'd have a lot more ridership because people would be able to not have to get on and get on to a bus. they'd be able to take the j church, called the h or whatever you want to call it and it would bring them from the castro area all the way to mission bay and with a lot of stops along the way and you'd have a connection with 16th street, i would expect you would get off and get on to
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tothat. i know that's in the range of $2 to $3 million. >> at least. >> what we're working on our san francisco transportation plan right now with the transportation authority. i recommend this commission put in its request for projects. president fong: commissioner miguel? commissioner miguel: yes. on your seventh and ninth street -- on the seventh street project, you might take a look, because of the very heavy traffic coming west on both seventh and ninth, what a change in seventh would do to impact ninth because those are the two main going east to west and you might have a large impact on
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ninth and so i think that has to be taken into your study. folsom-howard, i echo commissioner antonini's comments on that. folsom is envisioned as a major retail street. of course, it's not only transit but also sidewalks because of pedestrians so that has to work in. i'm particularly familiar with 16th street, having done a lot of work on the preliminary mission bay plan where 16th is the obvious connector. you have some problems there if you're going to go all the way up to the church because the street widens and narrows constantly and if you take 16th street going east from patrarro, it narrows, and it goes to one lane each way.
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with some vestiges of bike lane in between. when you go west of patrarro, it widens, then jogs, then goes through the mission very, very slowly as it is, because of tremendous amount of traffic and by the time it hits market street, if there's any traffic at all, it's at a near standstill. so it's envisioned as a major transit connector and obviously, again, echoing commissioner antonini, you have to have that connection between the 16th street b.a.r.t. and mission bay, otherwise, it's not going to work. the ucfs hospital is well on its way. they're already doing the outside cladding. a great deal of residential, as well, is coming in to both the
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lower patrarro hill and mission bay and so a need for very, very good transit going in that direction is actually urgent because the people are going to be there before you can get the transit built. president fong: commissioner borden? commissioner borden: this is a great report and i'm not going to echo what's been said about 16th. we all have really strong feelings about that. i have a question, what's the difference between a cycle track and bicycle lane? >> we're using terms, there's no federal guidance on this. a bicycle lane is a lane that's striped on the side of the street, that's usually adjacent to the curb or adjacent to a parking lane. what we're calling cycle tracks, they're protected bicycle lanes that have the safety posts. these are more permanent designs
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where there would be either a little bit elevated off the road or just below the level of the sidewalk, traditionally used in copenhagen and amsterdam and european and asian cities, as well, where they have the facilities where you are literally separated from the streets. in the u.s., they're called cycle tracks. i think it's the term of art being used right now. commissioner borden: i guess it's surprising how costly it is to do -- out of curiosity, $53 million to do folsom and howard. it seems like a lot of money. what takes up so much of the cost, i just wonder. >> concrete, asphalt. >> it's sewage. >> it's utilities. >> a lot of it is utility relocation and storm water relocation. there's things, for example, signals cost -- signals cost
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$150,000 each and an intersection can easily cost $500,000, especially because they're so big. doing the curb cut-outs and those sort of things can cost a couple of hundred thousand dollars. valencia was four to six blocks and that was $10 million. they're expensive. redesigning streets are expensive. if we had done this in the 1930's, it would have been really cheap but to do it now is what raises the price. it's physical commodity prices and the utility relocation, storm water relocation. commissioner borden: i would think the concrete is cheap. and then the other question, you were talking about folsom and saying that the two-way alternative, it's harder to widen sidewalks but it sounded like the two-lane, one-lane, would allow for widened
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sidewalks? >> noe, what would have to happen is the right-of-way itself, it's about 66 feet of right-of-way curb to curb right now and in order for the community really wants two-way service. in order for us to accommodate that and the existing traffic and future traffic conditions we're going to have in there, we could finagle is a little bit and have one lane going in one direction and two lanes going the other direction so we could have two-way transit and two-way vehicle movement but that says there's not enough room -- also to keep the parking on both sides. to keep the parking, there's no room left to widen the sidewalk continuously. the sidewalk will be widened where there are bus boarding platforms and where the cycle facilities are located so you'll get the feeling at the crosswalks that there will be pedestrian bulb outs at the direction but for a continual path, there's not enough right-of-way.
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that's the recommendation from the project. the m.t.a. team and the city team right now have to basically work on describing these projects that say we really -- if we really need to meet the requirements of the better streets plan, we have to rejigger this a little bit and either take out more travel lane, reduce travel lanes even more, or take out parking so we can widen sidewalks. commissioner borden: do we have policy around the width of a traffic lane? do we have, like, locally, does a traffic lane have to be 25 feet or i don't know? >> yeah, for transit, we would like our lanes to be 11 1/2 feet wide because the bus with its mirrors is literally 11 feet so ideally 12 feet but that's not the standard. we'd like to have them at least 11 1/2 feet. for travel lanes, they've gone as low as 9 1/2 feet. that's not optimal. you want to have 10 for vehicles. because if transit is running on 9 1/2 feet, it's literally straddling two lanes. in the northern part of the mission, it's straddling two
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lanes because lanes are so narrow. commissioner borden: in our better streets, did we come up with a number or a policy around lane width at all? >> i don't know exactly off the top of my head. just sidewalks, they didn't go into streets. commissioner borden: i was just wondering. i was in washington, d.c. because a lot of streets, two cars can't pass each other. >> no, no, and there's reasons for doing that. forces people to slow down. so, yeah. commissioner borden: thank you. president fong: commissioner wu? vice president wu: i also want to thank you for the presentation. i assume you have been in coordination with supervisor kim's office and d.p.h. and all of the public pedestrian safety hearings held last year? i think those are really great and they brought so many different stakeholders from the neighborhoods together. i also shared commissioner borden's sticker shock at the price so would just suggest maybe if it is going to be phased to really focus on some of what was heard out of those
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hearings, the pedestrian safety concerns, looking at where the collisions were, possibly shortening crossing distancing with bulb outs and slowing traffic. i know that's the goal of the entire project but i think $53 million seems pretty tough to achieve so using those as a way to help prioritize. >> thank you. president fong: commissioner sugaya? commissioner sugaya: yes, i can only speculate the cost will go up faster because if we -- as you mention -- enter an improved economic situation and there's development and part of the financing is not dependent on development taking place so we can extract the fees, if development starts, costs will go up. i think $53 is more like $80. anyway, along the east-west part or whatever the direction is along folsom and howard, i don't
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know if you're at this detail yet, but were there mid-block crossings? >> we have designs for mid-block. all of those tool kits will be part of the environmental analysis. commissioner sugaya: has anybody thought about the relationship of seventh and eighth to sixth street? because sixth is where, you know, the freeway comes down for some people. i try to avoid it and go around and come down on seventh but a lot of people come down there and sixth is so congested at times. and i don't know if there's any way to divert some of that traffic both coming into the city and going out of the city. >> we would love to get guidance on how to do that because that's been one of the issues with this whole process is regional traffic, local traffic and community neighborhood concerns and the three are not exactly compatible so in the near future we have to make a determination on, are we going to accommodate
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regional traffic anymore on these streets. president fong: commissioner moore? commissioner moore: what was presented was really a missing piece in comprehensive planning. we had the eastern neighborhood plan and during that planning, many of the lacking transportation projects were brought to us over and over again, particularly the absence of more comprehensive mass transit in that area. with the better streets plan, being the ideal piece for which is your first set of working drawings, i'm delighted that all of those things come together because perhaps commissioner wu needs to pick up on the better streets plan where the larger idea, as they all relay themselves, tells you exactly why and how. and i'm delighted. i wish you had more money. i wi mindset in washington, d.c. would be a little bit more proactive relative to funding for what you're talking about rather than just talking about widening
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roads somewhere out in the countryside and that is a problem which has really rapidly surfaced again. and i wish you luck. i hope you can get some grants. i hope there are other ways where necessary street improvements will be overlaid with forward-looking plans like the ones you're describing so that all tools are connected to get the most out of the least and i'm actually kind of sad that we will have to go to the cheaper interim method of just surface striping because in the end those things have lots of problems because to proper run a new way of more bikes on streets, you're not creating exactly the kind of safety you need when you do not have the tools of concrete and separation and proper sidewalk widening in place so that is of concern but perhaps we have to make do with what we can. thanks. president fong: let me pick up on that. i wanted to point out and i
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thought it was a good idea to try the interim plan and let paint change the character of the street and let the neighborhood and you talked about the neighborhood still being a little bit apart. i think activating and letting people use those streets in a different way will gain excitement, possibly curiosity for funding, on a lot of different levels soy i -- so i like the interim pilot use to find out what happens. dr. ram? >> i wanted to thank the staff of the m.t.a. and planning department and other agencies for their work on this. the thing that's helpful about the way that this ended up is that while the en trips was looking so broadly at the system, we have focused on the three corridors we think are the higher priorities and we are working with the m.t.a. right now on trying to figure out how to take the two corridors to the next level in terms of environmental review. we don't have the funding for
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environmental review right now for folsom, howard or seventh or eighth. we think there's possibilities for fulsom and howard if we attach it to other work going on so we're trying to be creative about how to fund the environmental reviews for that corridor, as well. but it's interesting, when i talked to property owners down there, for example, the museum of modern art even or other property owners in the district, they all are very much keenly aware at this point of the need to create a safer and more comfortable pedestrian environment down there. it's a growing awareness of that community to do that and i think that's a pretty interesting thing. people are starting to realize that you can't just use these streets as traffic sewers and not have an impact on their own property and enjoyment of their property and how people use their property so i think we have a growing awareness of the issue and growing potential advocates for funding to make this thing happen over the next
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decade or so. so i think this plan is a great first step. president fong: commissioner moore? commissioner moore: something you just triggered makes me want to say that the increased ridership in transit is creating a new crowding on sidewalks which then basically leads you to realize that you need to improve the sidewalks themselves in order to make it safer. people are continuously spilling into the street waiting for buses, et cetera, because there's just not enough room and those people want to stroll in front of the museum or coffee shop or whatever are basically being squeezed out. that is positive because it is a conflict which creates the next layer of solution. president fong: commissioner antonini? commissioner antonini: not to go on too long but i think your comments about traffic from outside the region coming into san francisco is something we have to look at closely.
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we cannot prevent -- highway 101 will be van ness avenue and that's not going away nor is 19th avenue but there are a lot of people whose trips come off of the bay bridge or from 280 and their purpose is to come into downtown san francisco and a lot of cities have ways where they go fairly easily off of the freeways and into parking structures or get out of their cars and if we can figure out a way to put those somewhere, that might help, as long as we have, you know, really a lot of transit or a very pedestrian oriented way for them to get to wherever that is to get into the core area they want to get to rather than having them drive all the way into the heart of the city before they can park at fifth and mission or stockton-sutter or union square. president fong: commissioner >> many people are discussing
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the issue of congestion management. >> i don't agree with the congestion. i am only saying that you might be able to keep a few people out with on alternative but there are still people that will want to drive him as closely as they can to where they want to go. shoppers will not carry their packages for 10 blocks over to wherever their cars are parked but perhaps we can find a way to dissuade people who don't mind a little walk from having a place to put their car. >> ligco.my company does have branches in london and stockholm. [laughter] >> ok, thank you. >> ok, commissioners.
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we can move on to commissioner's questions and matters. are there any commission matters? >> with the risk of stretching out this hearing, i wanted to mention a couple of things we did. i took the advantage of the hearing that was held by the commissioners at farrell, avalos, in regards to family flight. they've brought up some good points about the schools and the fact that it was noted that the population of children from ages 1 to 5 has increase in the last 10 years and the number from 5 to 17 has gone down significantly is my experience in 40 years of dental practice where when people reach school age, a lot of them leave san francisco and schools is the probably the biggest issue.
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people are afraid of having a child having to be the when all school and they don't like the fact that there is no community building if their kids are not in neighborhood schools. they brought these points out that it was a very useful dialogue. we know that housing is very expensive but it is also nonfunctional that it is not impossible to raise a family of five in a tunnel-planned victorian with a split bath. unfortunately, only 21% of our housing stock has three or four bedrooms and we have a lot of barriers for people who are trying to enlarge the space they have. anything we can do to encourage, it was clear in that discussion that people are recognizing the
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fact that we need larger and housing types to keep families in san francisco and things we can do to make that a reality is important. most of you saw the chronicle in "at the chronicle" about the appeals process. specifically, she dealt with the environmental part of it. i have pointed this out before and this is something i would like to get to and perhaps i can get something from counsel. this requires that the appeals for environmental documents be referred to the elected body in the but the killer county which has been an our case, the board of supervisors, but it don't -- it is not dictate the margin by which an appeal can be done. whereas, to overturn the approval, they need a super majority. that is one reason why we see so
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many environmental appeals because it is a low hanging fruit. if we make it a high-level after years of discussions, hearings, discussions, to repeat the whole thing of the board of supervisors, said is an extraordinary case, they should have a high standard to be unable to overturn what we do. i will look into that because i think that might help to expedite things a little bit and allow for the proper process and appeals where they are appropriate. >> i was in the second of three central corridor meetings this week and the department did their usual excellent job. this would be the third and final one coming along probably mid to late
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